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Sat May 1, 2021, 03:13 PM

Are Thrift Shop Resellers Getting Rich?

There's a thread today that claims that people who buy and resell stuff from thrift stores are all rich yuppies who are "gentrifying" the thrift store business. Nope. They're not. Like everything else, Reddit is a good place to check to see if side-hustles of all types are reliably profitable.

Here's what Reddit users say about thrifting clothing to sell on Poshmark:

Browsing Reddit, most users report making anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per month. Most Reddit users specified theyíre working their boutique or closet very part-time.


http://tightfistfinance.com/make-money-on-poshmark/#:~:text=Poshmark%20is%20actually%20a%20really,or%20closet%20very%20part%2Dtime.

I spent a couple of years buying and selling used and vintage items of all kinds. I shopped thrift stores, estate sales, yard sales, etc. for the goods I sold. I have some remarkable stories I can tell about fantastic profits for specific items. For example, a 75 cent pocket knife found in a box at an estate sale brought me $227 on eBay. Cool, huh?

But, here's the reality of doing this. Over those two years, I calculated my hourly net earnings. How much did I make per hour? About $7.50. Net. See, the thing is that you have to go and find the items to sell, and there is heavy competition for such stuff everywhere. Every morning you can see the resellers in Goodwill and other thrift stores, frantically searching for profitable stuff. Mostly, they find very little, but spend an hour or so looking in each store.

Or, they go to estate sales, where prices for most items are too high to be profitable to a reseller. Or, they spend hours going from yard sale to garage sale, usually finding nothing at most of them. Instead, you have to look for unusual items that go unnoticed by most resellers, and focus on those if you hope to make a profit. That's a tricky thing to do, really.

But, finding the stuff is just part of the problem. Then, you have to process it for sale. If you sell online, you have to take very good photos of items and skillfully write descriptions that will bring you top dollar. Remember, there are many people selling similar stuff on eBay or wherever, whatever the items are. You have to compete.

For the truly high-profit items, you have to research the item. For example, I took a chance on that early 20th Century Barlow Knife when I bought it for 75 cents. I spend a couple of hours researching the item to see whether it could be a real money maker for me and to help me write a description that would attract bids from knife collectors. It was, and did score an outstanding profit. However, many of the items I resold returned a far lower profit margin.

Then there is fulfillment. Once the thing sells, you have to package and ship it. More time spent, and your customer feedback depends on how well you do that. If there is not a lot of profit in an item, your earnings per hour go down very quickly. Then, there's time spent tracking sales, checking tracking numbers, dealing with customer issues, keeping accounts, and acquiring boxes, etc. to ship things in. (Hint: reusing old Amazon boxes does not get you good feedback on eBay.)

Then, there are mistakes in purchasing items that turn out not to be profitable. Lots of them. You might get your money back, but you won't earn much that way. In the end, it's a lousy way to make a living.

Bottom line: I stopped doing that as a side-hustle. I would have made more money working in the local liquor store for $12/hr. So, I found something else to do and stopped reselling.

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Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply Are Thrift Shop Resellers Getting Rich? (Original post)
MineralMan May 1 OP
Claire Oh Nette May 1 #1
Luciferous May 1 #2
MineralMan May 1 #9
displacedtexan May 1 #20
ForgoTheConsequence May 1 #21
Claire Oh Nette May 1 #10
MineralMan May 1 #4
MineralMan May 1 #8
Claire Oh Nette May 1 #12
PortTack May 1 #3
MineralMan May 1 #5
Watchfoxheadexplodes May 1 #6
keithbvadu2 May 1 #22
FSogol May 1 #7
MineralMan May 1 #11
Girard442 May 1 #13
MineralMan May 1 #16
obamanut2012 May 1 #27
Totally Tunsie May 1 #26
Totally Tunsie May 1 #25
Hekate May 1 #14
Vinca May 1 #15
MineralMan May 1 #18
obamanut2012 May 1 #28
ismnotwasm May 1 #17
MineralMan May 1 #19
XanaDUer2 May 1 #23
TheRealNorth May 1 #24
Mr.Bill May 1 #29

Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:20 PM

1. Just the owner of Goodwill is getting rich

We donate, he sells it, and hires disabled workers to pay them les than minimum wage.

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Response to Claire Oh Nette (Reply #1)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:24 PM

2. They don't make less than minimum wage. I worked

there for a couple of years ago for a summer and made $11/ hr and that was the starting wage

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Response to Luciferous (Reply #2)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:31 PM

9. There are lots of urban myths about Goodwill.

Most are bogus.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #9)

Sat May 1, 2021, 04:09 PM

20. The Goodwill owner recently sold his bldg in a choice San Francisco location for $8m.

Everyone seemed shocked to learn that Goodwill was a business, not a gov't subsidized charity. It seemed righteous many years ago because they trained people to fix things and learn how to work in a store. But that sort of faded away at some point.
As to your point about fulfillment, I try to message sellers not to bother with the fru fru or attractive packaging. Even my fresh egg deliveries have raffia bows, handwritten tags, and fresh flowers attached. She's so proud that I can't bring myself to tell her to reuse the empty cartons and drop the garnishes.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #9)

Sat May 1, 2021, 04:42 PM

21. Some are bogus but there is a good amout of truth.

The CEOs get rich, the workers suffer. I worked in that world for a long time, it's disgusting.

Goodwill Omaha allowed CEO to make $1M a year

McGree received total compensation of $933,444 in 2014, and the number of managers and executives making more than $100,000 a year increased from five to 15 during his tenure, according to the attorney general's report.

Meanwhile, the report found that most of the group's retail workforce earned the minimum wage. Even though executives typically make more than frontline employees, "such a glaring disparity raises questions when the stated goal of the organization is to benefit the disadvantaged" and create jobs for those struggling to find employment, the report said.

https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/latest/goodwill-omaha-allowed-ceo-to-make-1m-a-year/article_226c9f3a-d9c1-586a-bb79-1f1b50612a05.html

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Response to Luciferous (Reply #2)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:34 PM

10. I use FBMarketplace, and donae to women's shelters

I have no beef with Goodwill. Found some nice things there form time to time. I prefer other second hand stores.



In fiscal year 2018, Goodwill organizations generated a total of $6.1 billion in revenue, of which $5.27 billion was spent on charitable services, and $646 million was spent on salaries and other operating expenses.

A 2013 article on Watchdog.org reported that Goodwill's tax returns showed that more than 100 Goodwills pay less than minimum wage while simultaneously paying more than $53.7 million in total compensation to top executives.[36] Douglas Barr, former CEO of the Goodwill of Southern California, was the highest paid Goodwill executive in the country.[37] He received total compensation worth $1,188,733, including a base salary of $350,200, bonuses worth $87,550, retirement benefits of $71,050, and $637,864 in other reportable compensation.[36] "In 2011, the Columbia Willamette Goodwill, one of the largest in the country, says it paid $922,444 in commensurate wages to approximately 250 people with developmental disabilities. These employees worked 159,584 hours for an average hourly wage of $5.78. The lowest paid worker received just $1.40 per hour."[

Under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, organizations can obtain a "special wage certificate" to pay workers with disabilities a commensurate wage based on performance evaluations.[38] Of Goodwill's 105,000 employees, 7,300 are paid under the special wage certificate program.[39] The National Federation of the Blind considers it "unfair, discriminatory, and immoral"

YMMV

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Response to Claire Oh Nette (Reply #1)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:26 PM

4. Whatever. It's a source of affordable goods for people

who need such a source. Goodwill serves a very necessary role in our economy.

Who owns Goodwill? I have no idea, actually. Or Salvation Army. Who owns that?

Here's the thing: People need very affordable clothing, furniture, and household goods. If it weren't for thrift stores, there would be no source for them to find those goods at low prices.

You are overstating the problem.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #8)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:36 PM

12. I don't.

If you'd like to show me where I mentioned Mark Curran, that's be great.



But thank you for defending what no one claimed.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:25 PM

3. Most average thrift store shoppers aren't looking for the same kinds of items that ppl with

Moderate to higher incomes are!

They are looking for clothing for their kids and themselves, kitchen items, household stuff. Not vintage or high end items...just everyday stuff that still has some life in it

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Response to PortTack (Reply #3)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:28 PM

5. Yes, exactly.

Need a warm winter jacket for yourself or your child? Don't have much money? Well, there's just one source, and that's a thrift store.

Just because some reseller bought the Lands End one to resell doesn't mean that there aren't others that are suitable for a great low price.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:29 PM

6. I just go for old computers and cell phones

With that said

PEOPLE BEFORE YOU GIVE THIS STUFF TO GOODWILL REMOVE HARD DRIVES AND SD CARDS.

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Response to Watchfoxheadexplodes (Reply #6)

Sat May 1, 2021, 04:55 PM

22. Found a computer on display and operating.

Found a computer on display and operating. Some small construction company had donated it to the thrift store. It had payroll info, addresses, social security numbers, and the whole shebang. I deleted as much as I could in a short time before leaving.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:29 PM

7. what's the gripe with reusing amazon boxes?

I always reuse boxes, although sometimes I turn them inside out and retape.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #7)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:35 PM

11. Depends what you're selling.

If you're selling higher priced items, buyers expect new packaging and well-packed items.

If you don't deliver that, they complain and slight you in feedback. New boxes pay off, actually. I bought mine in bulk quantities, or used USPS free Priority Mail boxes when I could.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #11)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:41 PM

13. Yup. In theory, steak without the sizzle is fine, but...

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Response to Girard442 (Reply #13)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:49 PM

16. Exactly. I had a business selling mineral specimens to collectors

on the Internet. In fact, my site was the second such site on the Internet when I launched it in 1995.

Aside from reasonably priced specimens and a lot of variety, I also shipped every order at no charge, and in brand new boxes, including individual boxes for each specimen. I packed exceptionally carefully, too. That helped me build a long, long list of regular customers all over the planet. I printed customized labels for each specimen, too, using software I wrote and also sold. The same software also printed custom shipping labels for the packages.

I estimate that there are only a few tens of thousands of serious mineral collectors in the entire world. It was my attention to detail and customer service that make my little business a success. Packaging matters. A lot. You might get away with crappy packaging, but you won't build a strong regular customer base doing that.

Amazon knows. Every successful online retailer knows. What works, works.

In the end, the business was only marginally profitable, though, and obtaining stock to sell became very difficult as more and more dealers moved into Internet sales. After seven years, I shut the business down due to those factors. But, it was really fun for those sevn years.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #16)

Sat May 1, 2021, 07:43 PM

27. My fiancee ordered me some golf club head covers as a present

From a small Etsy shop in St. Andrew's, Scotland, about a quarter mile away from THE St. Andrew's. The covers were handknitted in local wool, and were wrapped beautifully in a decent thick tissue paper, tied with rustic yarn, with a small St. Andrew's ball marker in a tiny, nice envelope. The latter tucked in between the yarn.

The covers really are about the same amount as buying them here would be, although shipping was more. They were so nice, ESPECIALLY THE WRAPPING, that I ordered some for my dad for Father's Day.

You are right, it makes a difference.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #11)

Sat May 1, 2021, 07:30 PM

26. Here's a great charitable use for old Amazon boxes:

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Response to FSogol (Reply #7)

Sat May 1, 2021, 07:28 PM

25. Here's a great charitable use for those Amazon boxes:

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:42 PM

14. Where I used to live the nearest one was Alpha Thrift, which benefitted the local ARC program...

I always figured it was a good place to donate.

That said, when it comes to shopping for super-bargains Iíd rather watch Antiques Roadshow and see how other people do at estate sales & garage sales.


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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:47 PM

15. I think many people - including me - go to thrift shops, yard sales, estate sales, etc. because

it's fun. If you need a reliable source of income, this isn't it. Last year everything came to a screeching halt because of Covid, but previously I usually counted on finding a couple of really good things during yard sale season. For years and years (until last year) I sold things at an antique group shop. All of the stuff came from my Saturday morning searches and I never got rich. But I got hooked on the hunt. You see something and you don't really know what it is, but that little voice in your head tells you it's "something" so you buy it. Most of the time it pays off and it's great to learn new things just about every day. I'll head out again this year if they start up again and search for that elusive Picasso of my dreams. Looking forward to church rummage sales, too. That's where I like to look for clothing . . . for me. At some point I became too much of a miser to pay full tilt for clothes and it's amazing what you can find at rummage sales and bazaars.

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Response to Vinca (Reply #15)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:56 PM

18. Yes. The hunt is great fun.

I specialized in early technology items, and did pretty well. What looked like an old radio or calculator to everyone else was something I recognized as having historical and collector value. I have a very good memory, so I recognized things that had significance to collectors, and bought that stuff.

Another of my huge successes was a $10 find at a garage sale. It was the very first AM/FM radio receiver produced by Philco. Amazingly, it still worked, so I didn't have to do any electronic restoration. I recognized it, based on my early interest in radios and electronics as a child. I knew what it was on sight. Sold it to a collector for $1000.

I lived for that kind of find. There are people out there who collect first examples of almost everything technological. If you can find them for cheap, you can do very well. Problem is that most of them ended up in a landfill at some point.

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Response to Vinca (Reply #15)

Sat May 1, 2021, 07:44 PM

28. I just just to find old hickory golf clubs and certain books

It's fun!

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:55 PM

17. Saw some asshole buy a bunch of baby clothes in my neighborhood

The thrift store is no longer there. Itís now a dollar store. I live in a poor-to-working class neighborhood. Itís a tight little neighborhood. It annoyed the crap out of me to see this woman fill her cart to overflowing from a poor area thrift shop, to mark up in some baby clothes consignment store in a more affluent area.

The name of her store was on the side of her car.

Her store is also no longer in business.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #17)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:57 PM

19. Yeah. Thrift store reselling is a lousy business in the end.

It just doesn't work out.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 06:03 PM

23. Interesting nt

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 07:06 PM

24. My cousin's wife started a baby/toddler used clothing business

She wasn't successful even with that (although I had some concerns about her business strategy - such as locating in an area that didn't have a huge number of families- mostly retirement-aged folks.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:00 PM

29. I live in a small touristy town in Northern California.

Our main street is loaded withAntique stores, Thrift Shops and Consignment stores. All three Thrift Shops benefit local non-profits and are run entirely by volunteers, mostly retired ladies. I donate to them and shop there. Best score so far is a Sanyo Stereo Reciever from the late 70s. It is in pristeen condition, and for all practical purposes, appears to never have been used. It works perfectly. One just like it had just sold on Ebay for $225. I got mine for $20. I don't feel guilty about it, because over the years I have donated hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of stuff to them.

Our Antique stores are far from high end. It would really be more accurate to call them junk stores mostly stocked with stuff from yard sales. I go to these places to find items that are in the category of "they don't make them like they used to". I buy things intending to take them home and use them. Lots of kitchen stuff. Most recent Thrift Store purchase was a Kitchen Aid mini food processor for small batches when I don't want to drag out and clean the big food processor, which I also got at a thrift store. The small one was $15 and was like new.

All of the volunteers that work at these places tell me that clothing is their #1 seller and most profitable item.

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